As world leaders gathered in New York City last week to discuss the challenges of climate change, President of Costa Rica Luis Guillermo Solis stopped by Fortune on Thursday – a day after he addressed the UN General Assembly.
“We should all be responsible for what we do,” said Solis about carbon emissions, adding that, “states should be more responsible in those cases where they pollute the most. In general, that means the most developed countries are the ones who ought to take more responsibility.”
Solis, who took office in May, said any meaningful climate change policy would come out of international talks and not from one country alone; he’s hopeful that December’s climate change meeting in Lima will produce a document ready for signing at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.
Solis discussed various other topics, but a big focus for Costa Rica has been creating more jobs in the way of attracting high-tech firms to the country. Shortly before his election, Intel (INTC), the world’s largest computer-chip maker, cut 1,500 of the 2,500 jobs in the Central American country as part of an effort to consolidate some operations in Asia.
The move was particularly harsh for Costa Rica’s economy, as Intel’s arrival in 1997 helped the country lure in other high-tech companies, such as Infosys (INFY) and Hewlett Packard (HPQ). What’s more, Intel’s operations were worth about $2 billion a year and made up about 20% of the country’s exports.
Solis said Costa Rica has had a “long-standing relationship” with Intel and wants to keep it that way. Since the layoffs, he said, Intel has hired 250 new employees at what’s called a ‘mega lab’ testing the company’s products before they go to market. He acknowledged that does not make up for the many jobs lost, but the jobs created could open doors for more jobs focused on research and development.